Adding an Application Specific Keyboard Shortcut to OS X

This is just a short post mainly so I can link to it for a friend who might want it.

We are going to set a keyboard shortcut to toggle automatic spelling checking in Safari. This is incredibly useful for people who sometimes write a bit in a foreign language as auto correct will keep “correcting” those foreign words.

To start open System Preferences and choose Keyboard. When that comes up select Shortcuts in the row near the top and you will see a pane like the figure below.


Now in the left window click on App Shortcuts and it will be just like the figure.

Now click on the + under the right hand window. A small dialog will open up similar to the figure below. Click on the pop up menu next to Application and you can select Safari. In the text box next to Menu Title type Check Spelling While Typing (the exact text of the menu item to which we want the keyboard shortcut to apply). Then click in the box next to Keyboard Shortcut and type Option-Command-T. Your dialog should look exactly like the figure below. Click on the Add button and our task is complete. If you want to know how I came up with the text ‘Check Spelling While Typing’ then go to Safari and under the Edit menu look at and under Spelling and Grammar you will see the text. This is what the Keyboard System Preference means by “Menu Text”, it’s just the text ofthe menu item you want to trigger when you type the shortcut.


When you want to type some foreign text in Safari type Option-Command-T to turn off auto spell checking and when you have finished type Option-Command-T again to turn it back on.

Using the same method you can easily build your own keyboard shortcuts. For more complex keyboard shortcuts you might want to look at Keyboard Maestro, my favourite keyboard shortcut tool.

Real keyboard dweebs, like me, also install Karabiner for really customizing the keyboard and on desktop Macs with third-party keyboards Seil, a utility for “the caps lock key and some international keys in PC keyboards” as they put it. This may be too much for you but I’m the sort of person who paid $150 for the keyboard I use on my desk at home, so I’m demonstrably not rational when it comes to keyboards and shortcuts.


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